Kimble Hatridge is the administrator of Texarkana (Texas) Surgery Center. Here, Ms. Hatridge discusses her experience with recruiting physicians and offers advice for other center leaders seeking to do the same.
Q: What has your experience been with bringing new physicians to your surgery center?
Kimble Hatridge: First and foremost it has to make sense for both a physician and facility to engage in a relationship. There should be a benefit to the physician in making the change. Examples of the benefits could be quality of care, efficiency, equipment needs or improvements in their patients overall level of satisfaction with their healthcare experience. If we are offering more of the same where they are working, there would be no need to make a change. First, get to know the physician and his current environment. Are there needs that are currently not being met? If so, do we have the capability of meeting those needs? Evaluate if the relationship would be a good fit for both parties.
Q: Has it become more difficult as physician integration with hospitals has grown?
KH: I personally have not seen a significant increase in level of difficulty. However, I would think in much larger markets this would in fact be the case.
Q: What are a few things surgery center administrators can do to make their centers an attractive option for physicians to consider?
KH: Again, it must be a beneficial move for the physician. We should continue to strive to offer the most efficient and effective patient care. Focus not only on the service offered to the physician but to the patient as well, ensuring an extremely high quality of care. As administrator, ensure that you have appropriate staff in the correct positions pursuing the same goals. Also ensure you have a highly trained staff that also possesses compassion for patients and a genuine concern for their needs.
Q: What can a surgery center's staff do to show that the center is a place physicians will want to continually bring cases to?
KH: Both physicians and patients have a choice in where there services can be performed. We recognize the value of both the patient and physician for choosing Texarkana Surgery Center and never taking it for granted. We are here to make their experiences as positive as possible. Without either, there would be no need for our surgery center and staff.
Q: What is the most difficult aspect of gaining physician interest in performing cases at an ASC?
KH: The most difficult aspect is competing with a hospital environment by adding another "stop" to the physician's schedule. In many cases, physicians' schedules are significantly demanding and the burden of adding another facility in which to operate is a great obstacle. It is for this reason that there must be a significant benefit to the physician to add an ASC to his schedule.
The physician is required in most cases to operate at a hospital due to higher acuity cases, emergent services, as well as inpatient needs. It is imperative that communication between a facility and physician is open to evaluate all aspects of scheduling to see where benefits could exist.
Q: What are a few of the benefits of continuing to strive for new physician involvement at surgery centers?
KH: With each new physician brings a new perspective and opportunities to improve on our services to the community and our patients. Some of the most challenging physicians have resulted in great improvements in both efficiencies and services to our patients, for which I am very thankful. It is with each new physician and new idea or recommendation of a better way to offer services that we continue to grow and succeed.
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